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Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing

August 3, 2021
“I Interview Myself”

Q: So what are you trying to do, and why?

A. Imitate those whose work inspired me in the museums at an early age
B. Re-experience the transcendent (like I first did in art at age 14)
C. Understand life the deepest way I can
D. Share all that with others- especially others like myself who need it

Q: Why do you think art is important?

A. It isn’t B. It isn’t any more important than any other thing or endeavor

Q: What are you trying to do?

A. I am trying to reach for that “it”- “That is “”it””, That is all…

Q: Why Paint? (Media)

I was naturally drawn to paint. First I loved finger paint. I learned early too- at six. Paint was a matter determined early on or whenever, by accident, by genetics, I don’t know. My Aunt was a portrait painter- studied with Leon Knotl in NYC. There was a lot of art around me while growing up, but I was not expected to be an artist. However I could not be what I was expected to be. Art saved me; I think art can save other people too.

Q: How have you been able to keep going all these years?

A. Perhaps because I am stubborn, perhaps because my Taurus moon is in the first degree. B. I am extremely fortunate- I have been gifted- gifted not by talent but by the generosity of others. I have to say that early on I was extremely ungrateful- and I regret that. However, I try to make up for that now. The greatest gift I have been given is my life as an artist. Well, I might also put my wife of 40 years in that category… The gift as in simply being able to do it- to paint, to do work, to continue- that is the reward, the ultimate reward- I have been gifted. And so, out of this I hope to gift my work.

Q: To Whom?

I realize art needs an audience. So what is my audience? Well, I have always painted for the ages. I have sought not be painting for the very moment- so I have sought ultimate values in my work.

Q: Do you have a family? How did you manage that (raising children) and keep on with your creative work?

A. I can only say that was not easy. I won’t go into the personal part of that here, but will go into some details another time. B. Having a family as well as being married has been a very rich learning experience, as well as a difficult one for which I am very grateful. I believe that raising children is one of the very important and significant things we can do for the world and its future. C. For me, family forced me to go beyond my selfish self- hopefully to move to a deeper sense of self. I was fortunately trained by my wonderful dog Sesshu (1974-1991) that “caring” is a 24/7 job. So I had a little experience before I had my own two children (1984 and 1989). My wife was training me in this way as well. I am so grateful for all that. I feel that all this training has come into my work life.

Q: How is your work not solipsistic?

A. I am engaged in the world. I am socially engaged wherever I live. I am engaged in the issues of the day, I think globally and act locally. This consciousness feeds the meaning of my art (see the subjects of my paintings that are both environment and political, as well as psychological and personal) B. I live much of the year where all the issues of the year are very manifest- homelessness, racism, gun violence, air pollution, and environmental degradation. I participate as much as I can, never feeling I have to make a choice between “acting in the world” and acting in my studio. I hope I can maintain a balance.

Q: How do you maintain a balance between the “inner:” and “outer” life?

A. Ultimately there is no difference or separation. However, that is easier to say than to realize in my life. I am the beneficiary of many spiritual traditions. I have and continue certain practices including yoga and some forms of meditation. I had for many years a special spiritual teacher. I was also raised in a Christian tradition, though generally have not been a “card carrying member” of any church. B. I have appreciated both the ethical and mystical traditions of Christianity.

Q: In Conclusion, how can you sum up a life in the Arts- a long life and one that you seem deeply grateful for?

In a few words: Nature People Art (ART)

Nature- in it’s purity- its essences and its expression in place- specific places and archetypal places.

People- in all their diversity of lives and experiences, both cultural and personal (psychological), people in motion, people alive, changing, moving; people as stories, myths, and the embodiment of culture.

Art- Art as a gift, as a manifestation of the human spirit, and all that it contains.


Q: What books did you bring with you here?

A: Grand Union by Wendy Peron, Hiroshima- Three Witnesses, Voices from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, The First Love Stories from Isis and Osiris to Tristan and Isulta, Valcamonica Rock Art Parks, Color and the Edgar Casey Readings, Color and Music in the New Age, Goethe’s Approach to Color, The Tarot Revealed, A Complete Guide to the Tarot.

Q: What Art Works do you consider the greatest?

A: Monet’s Water Lilies at the MoMA, Pollack’s One (MoMA), Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa (The Louve). And then there any many artists and their works that I admire greatly: Serrat, Rodin, Clyfford Still, Rothko, Joan Brown, Marlene Dumas, Sesshu (The Japanese artist), Anne Truitt, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, and wall painting from before recorded time.

Q: Who were your most important teachers?

A: Dean Stanbaugh, Morton Sachs, Nick Carone, Walter Murch, John Helicker, Steven Greene, and Syong Moy and Tony Harrison (in printmaking).

Q: You work in many media besides paint: printmaking, drawing, dance, etc. Why do you call yourself a painter?

A: Because painting is my ground of being. It is where I come from and where I always return. I loved painting from an early age- not only doing it, but also seeing it.

Q: What about Skowhegan?

A: I cannot emphasize enough its importance to me. Though it rests on the continuum of my life’s education, it was a turning point in my life. It was where I realized it was possible for me to be an artist. The rest is history as they say.